Kansas advances unemployment bill; staffing surge promised

Republican lawmakers want to overhaul Kansas' troubled unemployment system. Gov. Laura Kelly announced plans to more than double the number of staff who help the jobless.

By

State News

March 5, 2021 - 2:39 PM

Gov. Laura Kelly

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers moved forward Thursday with legislation to overhaul Kansas’ troubled unemployment system after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly announced plans to more than double the number of staff who help the jobless and make them available on weekends.

The state House approved a bill  drafted by Republican members to give the GOP-controlled Legislature more oversight of the modernization of the state Department of Labor’s unemployment system and require computer upgrades to be completed by the end of 2022. The House’s 87-36 vote sent the measure to the Senate. 

House Republicans say the measure would more quickly modernize an outdated unemployment system. The department has said the House bill’s two-year timeline for the technology upgrade is unrealistic. 

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